July 31, 2021

GP Austria F1: Pole for Verstappen, Lando, welcome to the front row…

At Red Bull’s home, completely packed with Verstappen fans in the stands, Max Verstappen took pole position for the Austrian GP race with a time of 1:03.720s, beating by 0.048s Lando Norris who took 2nd place in the grill.

Sergio Perez was 3rd fastest, Lewis Hamilton was only fourth and Valtteri Bottas 5th.

On the first attempt, Verstappen completed the lap in 1:03.720, with Lando Norris within 0.048s of the Dutchman. Lewis Hamilton was third (+0.294), Valtteri Bottas fourth and Sergio Perez was only in fifth place. Only the two fastest at this point managed to enter the second 03.

In the second lap of Q3, Verstappen was unable to improve his time, with two first sectors worse than in the first attempt, while Lando Norris improved in those sectors and his final time, being just 0.048s off pole. A first row of the young grid.

Sergio Perez also improved his time and moved up to third place in qualifying, with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas completing the top 5.

Pierre Gasly, Yuki Tsunoda, Sebastian Vettel (who must be penalized because of Alonso’s Q2 offside), George Russell and Lance Stroll closed the top ten.

Fantastic performances from Norris and Russell, in addition to the performance of Verstappen, which has proved to be dominant so far.

Q2: Russell ahead of the two Ferraris
Sergio Perez was the first rider to go out on the track and record time in the session, as he had to abort his last attempt in Q1. With medium tyres, the Mexican scored a lap in 1:04.554s.

With all the drivers on track shortly after Perez returned to the pits, times started to drop. Lewis Hamilton improved the Mexican’s time but right behind Max Verstappen removed the Brit from the top of the timesheets. Lando Norris shone again, setting the second fastest time at this point and Sergio Perez improved his previous time and moved up to the third fastest time of the session, before everyone left for the last attempt. George Russell was 9th, ahead of Yuki Tsunoda, Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc, Fernando Alonso, Daniel Ricciardo and Antonio Giovinazzi.

On the last available lap, Fernando Alonso, who was at risk of not making it to Q3, caught Sebastian Vettel on the trajectory of the last corner and lost time, finishing in the last 5 of Q2. Verstappen improved his time and entered second 03 with 1:03.927s.

George Russell on medium tyres, improved his time and moved to Q3, leaving behind Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc, Daniel Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso and Antonio Giovinazzi, who were eliminated.

Q1: Esteban Ocon eliminated, Alonso 3º faster
With the exception of Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher, all drivers waited until the last 14 minutes of Q1 to get out of their garages. The fact that it was a short track and that there was a qualifying policy, where it was forbidden for cars to slow down between turns 9 and 10, meant that the drivers left later.

Max Verstappen was the first driver to set a decent time of record, with 1:04.249s, followed by Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. Pierre Gasly saw his first attempt at putting a record, being deleted for going over the track limits.

Lando Norris and Fernando Alonso surprised when they placed themselves in the fastest 3 with just over 5 minutes to go in Q1.

Kimi Raikkonen, Esteban Ocon, Nicholas Latifi, Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin were eliminated. Daniel Ricciardo saw his last quick lap erased, making his way to Q2 in the last available place, George Russell again, making it to Q2.